Apple cider vinegar is made from pulverized apples by fermentation of sugars into alcohol and further into vinegar. The major component in apple cider vinegar is acetic acid. While for centuries vinegar has been used in many folk remedies, apple cider vinegar has been especially considered beneficial. Some of the uses are not yet proven but some of them have medical and scientific backing. Apple cider vinegar is now sold both as a condiment and as a health supplement.
This liquid is light yellow-brown in color and is often sold without pasteurizing or filtering. Due to this reason, a cloudy sediment is often seen settled at the bottom of the bottles. Apple cider vinegar is also known as ‘mother of vinegar’.
Why is Apple Cider Vinegar beneficial ?
Vinegar, though mainly acetic acid, also contains other acids, amino acids, vitamins and mineral salts. According to alternative medicine, most illnesses can be cured with the help of apple cider vinegar. Scientific evidence is available for at least some of these claims. Some of the proven or possible health benefits of apple cider vinegar are listed here. As true with almost all natural / herbal cures, some of these benefits are not scientifically proves but have been passed on from generations by herbal treatment systems such as Ayurveda, etc.
Alternative medicine claims that apple cider vinegar is effective in treatment of many problems such as gout, arthritis, allergies, sore throat etc, but not all of these have been medically proved
Health benefits of apple cider vinegar
Among the folk remedy medicines, apple cider vinegar has been found to be one of the most beneficial and it cures more illnesses than most other folk remedies. Apple cider vinegar has been found to be effective even for the animals.
Beneficial against diabetes : Several studies have found that vinegar can help in lowering blood sugar level. A study in 2007 showed that people with type 2 diabetes had a reduction in glucose levels when they took two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar before going to bed.
Beneficial against high cholesterol and Blood pressure : A study conducted in 2006 on rats showed that apple cider vinegar had the ability to lower cholesterol level. It was found in another study, also in rats, that vinegar could help in lowering high blood pressure.
Benefits against cancer : Some studies suggest that vinegar has the capacity to reduce the risk of esophageal cancer.
Beneficial against dandruff : A popular home remedy which mixes together equal parts of water and apple cider vinegar is supposed to restore the pH balance of scalp and stop the fungus that triggers dandruff.
Acne benefits : A solution of one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water when dabbed on to pimples is found to be effective. But caution is advised since higher concentration can cause burns.
Benefits to heart health : According to a large observational study, people who ate salads dressed with oil and vinegar five to six times a week showed lower rates of heart disease. But it is not yet clear if vinegar was the only reason.
Beneficial for weight loss : Vinegar is a time tested weight loss medicine. When used in food it helps make the stomach feel fuller. The satisfied feeling rules out further overeating. Acetic acid is also found to suppress body fat accumulation.
Restores alkaline acid balance : A popular remedy of one or two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar with water is thought to have an alkalinizing effect. This is beneficial against acid conditions of stomach.
Usage, selection and storage of Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple cider vinegar can be mixed with water or juice in the ratio of around two teaspoons vinegar per glass. It can be sprinkled on salads that are eaten regularly. Apple cider vinegar can be applied topically too. Tablets containing apple cider vinegar are very popular in alternative medicine.
Apple cider vinegar in liquid form can be available in health stores and grocery shops. They can be purchased online too. Apple cider vinegar tablets can be found too, but these may or may not be safe and there is no real way to find out as they are not regulated by any rules or authorities.
When not to use it Apple Cider Vinegar
Whule there are many health benefits of apple cider vineger, there are several concerns associated with the usage of apple cider vinegar. Risk factor arises when vinegar is used continuously in substantial amounts. Certain factors should be considered before using this.
- Some studies say that regular use of apple cider vinegar is associated with increased risk of bladder cancer.
- Apple cider vinegar in high concentration can cause burns on the skin when applied topically and can cause damage to teeth, mouth and throat when taken internally. A case was reported wherein a woman’s esophagus suffered damage from an apple cider vinegar supplement stuck in her throat.
- Osteoporosis patients must consult the doctor before using apple cider vinegar as it causes potassium levels to dip and in turn lower the bone density.
- Apple cider vinegar can have a reaction with the medicines taken for heart disease and blood pressure and also for diuretics and laxatives.
- Chromium in apple cider vinegar can cause insulin levels to change and hence diabetes patients must also consult with their doctor before using this.
- Using supplements can increase the risk factor as compared to liquids as the supplements don’t come under regulation of FDA and also the ingredients on the label may not reflect actual constituents.
- Those who have allergies should be careful when using apple cider vinegar.
Health benefits of Apple Cider vineger are many and thus using it in foods as, say, salad dressing is considered good and safe. But regular intake of apple cider vinegar as a health supplement is generally not recommended. There is no denying the fact that folk medicine recommends it for various treatments. Often it is found beneficial too. But there have been little solid research to prove all the Health benefits of Apple cider vinegar for these claims.
Scientists say that a lot more research is required in this area before promoting apple cider vinegar as a health supplement. Hence it is up to those who use it to apply caution and use apple cider vinegar with discretion. By all means, enjoy it but don’t use too much.